EPP Foreign Affairs Ministers and German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen, who chairs the EPP Defence Ministerial Meeting, met in Brussels yesterday to discuss European security and defence policy. The meeting was also co-chaired by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Elmar Brok.

Following the meeting, EPP President Joseph Daul, Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Minister Sebastian Kurz and Chairman Elmar Brok, made the following statement:

“European citizens remain concerned about European security. With growing threats both inside and outside the EU, no single country can respond on its own. Member States must recognise that Europe’s security is interconnected. We stand by the commitments adopted by the 2015 EPP Congress in Madrid, and we call on Member States to immediately take measures to improve their defence cooperation. We cannot passively watch as the EU’s military posture in the world diminishes”, said EPP President Joseph Daul.

“Europe must have a genuine European Defence Union in order to respond to current security threats facing our continent. Defence and Foreign Affairs ministers, together with the European Commission and the European Parliament, have already prepared good initiatives, including better coordination, financing and more shared capabilities. Now, it is time to act. We must stay united, show political will and implement these initiatives as soon as possible. By doing so, we will also remain a reliable partner in the Atlantic security partnership”, said Minister von der Leyen.

“The EPP family has always been the frontrunner on European security and defence. Yesterday at the EPP Foreign and Defence Ministers Meeting, we reiterated our commitment to these issues. The protection of our common external borders, and more European cooperation, is not only desirable; it is an absolute necessity. I fully agree with German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen — we need to cooperate much more closely on security and defence policies”, added Minister Kurz.

“If Europe is still to be taken seriously, it must be truly committed to taking care of its own external security. The EU will need to create synergy effects within a coalition of the willing (permanent structured cooperation), a civil-military headquarters and a common approach to research, development and procurement of military equipment. We can no longer afford our current weakness, while we are wasting money at the same time”, concluded Elmar Brok.